Bob Rae
2 min

Taking democracy seriously

All this scrutiny of “Vegas” NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau is making electors question whether they made the right choice in voting for a candidate who has yet to visit the riding. Oh no! They may have to take democracy seriously the next time around! Meanwhile, she finally broke her silence and admitted that she’s never been to the riding and only ran as a symbolic gesture of her support for the NDP. Oops. But hey, she’s going to stick with this and give it all she’s got.

And this is the point where I go “Seriously? Seriously?” Putting your name forward to run for office is not something you do on a lark or to show your support for a party. In fact, it’s a slap in the face for candidates who run seriously by going out and knocking on thousands of doors, fundraising and actually engaging with voters. You know, like candidates do in a democracy. This isn’t a dig against any of the new, young MPs based on their age – it’s about them being placeholder candidates, which is an affront to those who participate in politics at the grassroots level.

This is also a condemnation of the party. As much as we keep hearing about all of the gains the NDP has been making in Quebec and the beachhead it established, stories like Brosseau’s prove that the party hasn’t actually done the kind of groundwork necessary to ensure that this growth is sustainable and not just a one-off protest vote (which many Quebec commentators are saying). In Brosseau’s riding, there was barely even a riding association (their total assets were something in the order of $250), let alone an office. The whole election was centralized at the NDP's Quebec headquarters in Montreal – again a shocking affront to constituency politics. This shouldn’t surprise me as the NDP is fond of this kind of affront to politics; it supports a voting system that would have MPs selected from a party list that is accountable to the party machinery rather than to the voters of the riding. And people should remember that the next time the NDP talks about “electoral reform.”

Here’s a look at some of the new Conservative and NDP MPs (caution: possible pay wall), as well as various MPs in general. We will have a record number of women and aboriginals in the House, as well as our first Tamil MP (who wants to strike up an all-party committee to look at alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka).

Stay klassy, defeated Conservative candidate in Guelph.

The Canadian Labour Congress hopes the NDP's new role as the official Opposition will help raise the profile of the labour movement in Parliament.

Jack Layton says his first order of business in Parliament is to reintroduce a bill to strengthen Quebec language laws.

Susan Delacourt looks at what the rebuilding process for the Liberals will entail. Meanwhile, Jean Chrétien is apparently agitating to get Bob Rae named as interim leader, which could be an issue.

Here is an “exit interview” with Michael Ignatieff.

What’s that? The government ignored expert advice that said the faint hope clause was actually good for our justice system and helped to reduce the recidivism rate? And they still went ahead and killed it anyway? You don’t say!
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